Monday, December 31, 2012

Kimberly's Review of On The Jellicoe Road

On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

Ever read a book that if you had to judge it by the first 100 pages, you’d rate it at about one or two stars? Then you finish the book and it overtakes your mind, and steals your heart and breath? That’s what happened to me with “On the Jellicoe Road”. I received it as a Secret Santa gift, they left a note telling me that it was one of their favorite books. She also warned me how difficult and confusing the beginning is, but once you get past that the writing is beautiful. She was right!

"What do you want from me?" he asks. What I want from every person in my life, I want to tell him. More.
Abandoned by her mother on Jellicoe Road when she was eleven, Taylor Markham, now seventeen, is finally being confronted with her past. But as the reluctant leader of her boarding school dorm, there isn't a lot of time for introspection. And while Hannah, the closest adult Taylor has to family, has disappeared, Jonah Griggs is back in town, moody stares and all.
In this absorbing story by Melina Marchetta, nothing is as it seems and every clue leads to more questions as Taylor tries to work out the connection between her mother dumping her, Hannah finding her then and her sudden departure now, a mysterious stranger who once whispered something in her ear, a boy in her dreams, five kids who lived on Jellicoe Road eighteen years ago, and the maddening and magnetic Jonah Griggs, who knows her better than she thinks he does. If Taylor can put together the pieces of her past, she might just be able to change her future.

This description doesn’t even cover the intricate ways that both stories, that of Taylor’s and that of the five kids who lived on Jellicoe eighteen years before her, are woven together. The writing truly is beautiful, Melina has a way of describing feelings, thoughts, memories… that go straight to your heart. There is so much truth behind her descriptions.
The story is heartbreaking, but is also peppered with humor and breathtaking descriptions. Parts of the book felt like poetry. The characters are wonderful. I loved each and every one of them. At the beginning, I wasn’t sure I was going to like any of them, but as the story went on I fell in love with each of their unique personalities.

I know this review is rather… glowing, but I just finished the book late last night and I’m still on one of those “good book highs”. Still. Give this book a try.

Woohoo! My last book review of the year! Happy New Year everyone!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

New Adult: Is it really necessary?

I was going to post a review today, and in fact I had one all written out and ready to go. But you'll have to wait for my next post for that. I have spent the past hour or so reading about a, shall we say, literary phenomenon you have probably all heard of by now: "New Adult." There have been many, many articles, blog posts, and comments written about this particular subject, and yes, I'm going to add to the collection. For your reference, here are two posts by other librarians I respect in my specialty, which is teen services: Kelly at Stacked has a few links in her most recent Links of Note post, and Liz Burns wrote the first of a series of articles about it as well. Both of those have a bunch of links worth reading, both for and against the idea of New Adult fiction.

Personally, I am not convinced this should be called an age grouping in the same sense as young adult/teen, children's, and adult literature. I understand that a "new adult" or "emerging adult" has a different sense of the world around them, a different life experience, and in fact I would call myself someone in that range as a 25-year-old woman. But just because you want books that reflect your experience, which is completely valid, does that mean an entirely new age category be created because of it?

People have been saying that you're either an adult, a teen, or a child, and new adults are technically adults. I would have to agree. Just because you don't feel like and adult doesn't mean you're not one. Maybe new adult fiction is a legitimate genre, like fantasy or mysteries or romance, but I wouldn't carve out space for it in the teen section or adult section at my library. It's going to go in one or the other, and unfortunately it will have to suffice for all us emerging adults who want to read books with people in our stage in life.

And guess what? That's FINE. The good news about this discussion, and the sales of books in the genre, is that publishers and retailers are noticing that there is a need for these stories and people are willing to buy them. This is apparent in looking at e-book sales, as well as just looking at popular culture and other forms of entertainment right now. The TV shows Girls and 2 Broke Girls, for example, are about that period, in these instances, in a young woman's life (disclaimer, I've never seen either of these shows). The only show I can think of off the top of my head about young men at that stage is the web series "We Need Girlfriends" which is awesome and hilarious.

I just think they belong in either YA or Adult fiction, and not somewhere in between. That's what we are for, the librarians and booksellers in your life. I know people don't necessarily want to talk to librarians all the time, for various reasons. But the Internet is an amazing place! I have been inspired by all this to try to create a Pinterest board dedicated to the genre, and I'm guessing there are other lists out there that people have compiled already.

In the meantime, I wish we could all agree that these books can go in one place or the other. Frankly, I don't have the space in my library to create a new set of shelves.

Oh, and another thing. I really REALLY hate the term "new adult." First, it sounds like the new adult books are actually new books for adults. Second, the acronym is NA, which just makes me think of the, to me apt, other meaning of that: Not Applicable.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Kelly reviews "Is Everyone Hanging out without Me?" by Mindy Kaling

Title: Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)
Author: Mindy Kaling

I've never really been one for memoirs written by celebrities. In a genre overrun with "books" by Miley Cyrus and Spencer Pratt/Heidi Montag (barf), it's rare to just find a witty, fun book by a down-to-Earth celebrity. I recently gave Tina Fey's Bossypants a try and since I liked it so much, I hoped that Mindy Kaling's book would be just as great.

Mindy covers her life as a "chubster" kid, her college years, and how she got to her position in comedy as an actress, writer, and director. She also throws in other "life lessons," such as karaoke etiquette and how men should properly dress (amen). Two of my favorite quotes are "There is no sunrise so beautiful that it is worth waking me up to see it,” and "Bren and I befriended each other early on. We clung to each other with blind loyalty, like Lord Voldemort and his snake, Nagini. I, of course, was Nagini."

My favorite section was the part about her life working and acting on The Office, which used to be my favorite television show ("used to" as in I got extremely bored not long after Michael left and haven't watched since). She quickly establishes that she is NOT like her character Kelly, at least in the bad ways. Mindy has injected so much of her personality into her work and it really shows. I loved hearing about the different actors on and off set, as well as the writing process and finding out which episodes and bits Mindy wrote or came up with (Kevin spilling chili all over himself/the floor in a cold opening was her brainchild? Excellent).

There have been a lot of negative reviews about the book, dismissing it as pure fluff and having no substance. What did you expect? This isn't high literature, it's just fun. The overall tone is very casual, as if you are just talking to a friend. The book isn't chronological and arranged in neat chapters, it's more or less a collection of random thoughts/reflections. It can seem a bit spazzy at times or egotistical. She also spends a lot of time professing her love for Amy Poehler, but really, who doesn't love her?

Friday, December 28, 2012

Jamie Talks About Beginnings & Endings

With 2012 ending and 2013 soon beginning I have been thinking a lot about beginnings and endings -- in my life currently ( friendships ending, a new & exciting life beginning as a newlywed) but also I've been thinking about some of the series that will be coming to an end in 2013 and ones that  I'm REALLY excited about that will be released in 2013.

    Lauren Oliver's Delirium series:

True story: I have Requiem in my posession and I'm honestly too afraid to start it. This is the  LAST book of this trilogy and I am beyond nervous. I just can't even. 

Rae Carson's Fire & Thorns series:

I haven't yet read The Crown of Embers but plan to soon but I do know The  Bitter Kingdom comes out in 2013 which will conclude this trilogy. I'm exciting because this is a series that is really getting me into fantasy!

Tahereh Mafi's Shatter Me series:

The end of the trilogy is slated for 2013 (I'm assuming Fall since Unravel Me  is early 2013) but I really love Tahereh Mafi's writing and totally didn't expect to love this book as much as  I  did  because it was SO hyped up!

Elizabeth Miles' Furies Trilogy:

I feel like this series has been a bit underrated.  I mean, the Furies are crazy and make things  very interesting. I just really have enjoyed this series SO MUCH and I hear it ends in 2013.

Anna Carey's Eve Trilogy:

I flew through Eve (despite having some problems with it) and could picture  the world so clearly in my head and that ending of Eve! WOW. I still need to read Once but when I do I'm sure  I'll be excited for the conclusion.

Kimberly Derting's Body Finder series:

This series is so addictive if you like fast paced mysteries with a bit of a supernatural twist (she can hear  the echos of  people who have been murdered) and romance. Book 1 & 3 were my faves so far but they way everything was shaping up at the end of book 3  I'm SO  EXCITED/NERVOUS for the conclusion.  I hope the creep factor is there in Dead Silence like it was with The Last  Echo!

Lauren DeStefano's Chemical Garden trilogy:

I cannot wait to read Sever!  Lauren's writing is so mesmerizing and I can't wait to see how some of these plotlines wrap up!

Michelle Hodkin's Mara Dyer Trilogy:

What a crazy story this one is! I still have yet to read book  2 but I think I want to  wait until book 3 is closer to publication with this series.  Mara Dyer is pure WTFery mindefferey at its glory. I didn't  LOVE ( I liked it)  MD1 like others did but there was something about it that makes me HAVE to know what happens.

Pulse by Patrick Carman: I just received this in the mail and I'm really excited about it -- mostly because I dream of  the day when I can move things with my mind. Umm, hello house getting clean while I read.

Let The Sky Fall by Shannon Messenger: I'm  planning on starting this soon but I heard about it during BEA and it sounds awesome. Plus I met the author and she was  really nice so it  makes me all the more excited!

Mind Games by Kierstan White: Looks dark and twisty and I'm excited!

Mila 2.0 by Debra Drizer: Definitely wanting to start this soon! I've been digging sci-fi lately and I'm hoping this will be everything that Eve & Adam wasn't for me. I just have so excitement  for stories where the MC was a clone or created in a lab!

The Archived by Victoria Schwab: Coolest concept I've read about in a while! Dead  people end up on shelves like books in a library? I love super imaginative books and I am SO SO SO  excited!

The Ward by Jordana Frankel: I've  been excited about this book since I featured it on my Catalog Creepin' post! It's especially chilling since, after Hurricane Sandy, we saw a Manhattan that was under water.

Reboot by Amy Tintara: I'm so intrigued by the idea of people becoming "reboots" after they die in this novel!

Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans: Already read this one and I'm so excited about it! My review will be up on The Perpetual Page-Turner within the next few weeks.

Corner of White by Jaclyn Moriarty: All I saw is "genre-busting" and that excited me for some reason. I'm excited about books that take place in parallel type worlds so yay!

Spellcaster by Claudia Gray:  I had been  thinking I needed a  good witch book and then this little beaut showed up!

Taken by Erin Bowman: A world where boys are taken and disappear into thin air when they turn eighteen?  Sounds so intriguing!  Especially when the MC, a boy days away from his 18th birthday, finds a note from his mother that makes  him question things!

Icons by Margaret Stohl: I want to know why the heck people dropped dead, why some people survived and what the heck the Icon is!!

The Program by Susanne Young: This is the one I'm probably MOST excited about because it just sounds sooo good and I liked A Need So Beautiful by this author (still need to finish the series). Teen suicide is an epidemic in this world and anyone  showing  signs of depression get sent to "The Program" -- the only proven way to   "help" the teens.

The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shephard: DAMN YOU, Megan Shephard! I read The Madman's Daughter this month and I am regretting that (no, not really) because now I have to wait until book 2 and well this one ended in a way that made my jaw drop.

The Rules by Stacey Kade: Clearly you see a trend of me being excited about books where people are made in labs? But this MC is made from human and extraterrestrial DNA so um THAT sounds even  more cool and the summary of this book has a hint of a Roswell feel  to it (I LOVED ROSWELL!).

Which series are  you reading that end in 2013? What series are you excited to start in 2013??

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Hi guys!

I wanted to wish you all a very merry Christmas!
And as I'm spending the day with my family, exchanging gifts, eating lots of good food and playing games and maybe squeezing in some reading, I realised there are some books that I associate with Christmas.

First among them is the Harry Potter series, mostly The Sorcerer's Stone. I actually got this one way back when for Christmas and immediately started reading it. And was an instant fan.
A more recent one is Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. I always try to read a feel-good book around Christmas and last year my pick was Anna and the French Kiss. I could not put it down and now I'd love nothing more than to re-read it soon.

So, my question is: are there books that you associate with Christmas apart from the books that are actually set in the Holiday season?

I hope you're all having a wonderful time and are spending times with the people you love!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday -- FREEBIE!!

 For more info on Top Ten Tuesday & the future topics - click here!


In the spirit of the season, we decided to make today a freebie—our gift to you :)

For my (Bridget's) Top Ten Tuesday today, I thought I would do something in the spirit of my recent engagement to my boyfriend (er, fiancĂ©), Andrew, and list our top five (and bottom five) literary names for our future children! Because yes, we’ve had this conversation before today.

Top Five

1. Jane (for Jane Austen and Jane Eyre). This is legitimately in the running for a girl’s name, although it would probably be the middle name—we were thinking Sarah Jane (my sister’s name is Sarah). Well, I have been, anyway.
2. Emma (from Jane Austen’s Emma). It’s such a pretty name and Emma is such a great character.
3. Beverly (from Stephen King’s It). Bev is pretty much a badass and if I had a daughter I would want her to be like Bev.
4. Stephen (for Stephen King, Stephen Maturin, Stephan Pastis). I love Stephen King and Andrew loves Stephen Maturin (of the Aubrey-Maturin series written by Patrick O’Brian) and Stephan Pastis (of the comic Pearls Before Swine).
5. Lucy (from The Chronicles of Narnia). I’ve always liked the name Lucy. It’s so feminine and pretty. And the Lucy in Narnia is just adorable.

Bottom Five

6. Holden (from The Catcher in the Rye). Holden is such a whiner. I would never give my kids that stigma—not that they’ll realize it until freshman year of high school (or maybe sophomore year?) but I imagine they’d get teased mercilessly after all the kids figured out who he was named after.
7. Anything from Lord of the Rings, because the kid would get beat up. (Not that LOTR isn’t a great story and all, but…yeah.)
8. Cormac (for Cormac McCarthy). Cormac McCarthy is the pits. Sorry for all of you who like him but I absolutely HATED The Road and have zero desire to ever read anything by McCarthy again.
9. Scarlett (from Gone With The Wind). I was pretty “meh” about the whole Gone With The Wind experience, mostly because Scarlett is kind of a bitch. I found her to be a completely unsympathetic and unlikable character, so reading 700+ pages of her whining was kind of unbearable.
10. Peeta (from The Hunger Games). Verbatim from Andrew: “…it’s either a stupid pun on ‘pita bread’ since he’s a baker or a bastardization of ‘Peter,’ I’m not sure which. Neither makes it better.” I totally agree. 

Hope you all have wonderful holidays and a happy New Year!!


Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas Eve

Merry Christmas Eve to our wonderful readers!  Wishing you all a happy holiday no matter what you celebrate.  Eat too many Christmas cookies and enjoy your holiday traditions!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Broke & Bookish Crew's Favorite Fall 2012 Reads

We've read a lot of great books this Fall -- new and future releases and backlisted treasures! We took to the task of each listing 1-3 favorite books we've read during Fall 2012.

Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone
Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard
On the Island by Tracey Gravis-Graves

The Casual Vacancy by J. K. Rowling: " All in all, I have to say (as many already have) that The Casual Vacancy is not a book I would have picked up on my own had J. K. Rowling’s name not been on the cover. That seems to be the general consensus among most people I know who have read it, or who have tried to read it. But in the end, I did enjoy it and I’m glad I bought it"

The Uninvited by Liz Jensen: " was very Stephen King-esque and thus right up my alley."

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula K LeGuin

What I Did For a Duke by Julie Anne Long: "So glad this book put the series back on track in my mind."
Firelight & Moonglow by Kristen Callihan: " It's phantom of the opera meets beauty and the beast with a dash of paranormal a pinch of suspense and a sequel that's already in my hands."

The Crimson Crown by Cinda Williams Chima: " this is YA fantasy at its best and it doesn't get much better than this."

The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson: "The stakes are high and the quest is epic and there's a whole world of new information to find out about the Godstone and its powers! This series is exactly what I love about fantasy!"

Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan: "Unspoken is filled with loveable characters, an engaging writing style, a creep factor and clean romance with so much tension I was chanting JUST KISS ALREADY in my head"

The Statistical Probability Of Love At First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith: SWOON! I can't believe it has taken me this long to read this one! 

Just One Day by Gayle Forman: I know this doesn't come out until January but PLEASE PLEASE make sure you get this. When I say ALL OF THE FEELS, I mean ALL!

The Fault In Our Stars by John Green: Loved loved loved  this book. I laughed, I cried, I cared about the characters and I cried some more.  This book put me through a roller coaster of emotions.

Have you read any of our favorites of this Fall? What were some of YOUR favorites that you would recommend to us from this Fall?

Julia's 2013 TBR Pile Challenge

Hey everyone! For the past two years I have participated in RoofbeamReader's TBR Pile challenge. This year will be another year that I try to meet the goal of reading and reviewing twelve books that have been on my TBR Shelf for over a year, so nothing published in 2012. There are quite a few for me to choose... the first year I read five and reviewed two. This year I did a jut about as good, reading and reviewing four.

The list for my 2013 goal (third times a charm, eh?) has to be up and linked by December 31st, so I scrambled through my shelves to come up with my official 2013 list (with two alternates in case some are DNFs).

I really want to accomplish reading these. It always felt so good last year being able to come back to this list and link another review. So hopefully, by this time next year, I will have a list full of hyperlinks instead of dreams. Wish me luck! :)

Julia's 2013 TBR Pile Challenge

1. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller (GR)
This is the third year in a row I have put this on this list!

I really want to read this before the movie comes out. This is the second time on the list.

3. 1984 by  George Orwell (GR)
Another threepeater... technically I have been trying to read this since 2009...

4. Divergent by Veronica Roth (GR)
I have this one in my possession so it shouldn't be too hard to do, hopefully.

5. Silk Is For Seduction by Loretta Chase (GR)
This one is from my literal TBR shelf, proudly displayed in my living room.

6. Trial by Desire by Courtney Milan (GR)
Another one from the Border's blowout from oh so many years ago.

7. Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder (GR)
My sister has been on me to read this for forever it seems.

8. Dreaming in Chinese: Mandarin Lessons in Life, Love and Language by Deborah Fallows (GR)
This is the second year for this one.

9. Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy (GR)
Another book I've been trying to read. I actually almost read it last year.

10. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (GR)
Once I read this I feel like all of you can breath a collective sigh of relief. 

11. Then Came You by Lisa Kleypas (GR)
I've been meaning to read more by her for a while now.

12. So Enchanting by Connie Brockway (GR)
Another author I have been meaning to try for ages.

1. The Devil Wears Plaid by Teresa Medeiros (GR)
Second year repeat.

2. Stardust by Neil Gaiman (GR)
Second year repeat.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Paula compares the book to the movie: Life of Pi

For my Mommabear's birthday this past weekend, she wanted to go see Life of Pi. I jumped at the chance. Usually I'm not crazy about my favorite books getting made into movies, but the previews for this one looked like they had put a lot into it.

I read Life of Pi back in high school and devoured it (heh... get it like a Tiger) in one day.  I felt every emotion with that book. It devastated me, it was thought provoking, and the ending blew. my. mind. Even years later I would think back and wonder what was real or not. If you haven't read it yet. I highly suggest you do so in the very near future.

How did the movie do? I would give it a 4.5. Here's why:

It did pretty much everything the book did. It made my whole family sob our hearts out. It illustrated the ideas about religion that the book presented. And my goodness it was BEAUTIFUL. We saw in in 2d (none of my family is very big on 3d movies... and they give the birthday girl headaches) but I can see how some of the scenes they did would have been astonishing in 3d. The colors were amazing. The transitions between scenes were really fantastically put together. I would go again just so I could immerse myself back into some of those scenes.

Why it did not get a full 5 stars. And this is a pretty big point for me... The movie lined up with the book pretty well the whole time (in fact I think it was almost a scene for scene replica) UNTIL THE END. This is a problem because the end of the book is what made it so special to me for so many years. I'm going to try and talk about this without being spoiler-y or vague. Fingers crossed. The same ending is presented in the movie... but it is done in a different way. One that is a lot less mind blowing. In fact it's almost an after thought- and just kind of meh. My family (who hadn't read the book before seeing the movie) left saying "Oh well that was nice...okay what's for dinner now" instead of going back and forth wondering what actually happened like the book does to you.

It wasn't enough to ruin the whole movie, but I think it takes away from the story as a whole. I know it's been out for a while now... but if you get a chance I would highly recommend seeing it on the big screen if you get a chance.

Happy Holidays everyone!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

In Which Bridget Discusses Rereading, Despite Knowing (and Maybe Hating) the Ending

Have you ever been totally sucked in by a book (I'm talking completely enamored) and then gotten to the terrible/lame/cop-out ending and felt your love for that book deflate like a leaky balloon? Have you then thought to yourself, "Dang, I guess I can never read that book again"? Or are you maybe a strict non-rereader, because you feel that knowing the ending already defeats the purpose of reading a book? (I do know such people, but most are not very active readers.)

Either way, this post is for you.

I am a rereader through and through. On Monday night, trying to find inspiration for this week's Top Ten Tuesday (Top Ten Books I Read in 2012), I realized that barely 20 of the 49 books I've managed to get through this year are new reads. The rest are rereads, and obviously I've reread them despite knowing the ending. But the thing is, with all of these books, I like or at least appreciate the ending. 

I've run into a little trouble recently on one of my rereads. Stephen King's Pet Sematary is one of the novels I would mention if you asked me to list his "canon." I've read it a few times, but all were before I went to college. It took me about 3 full read-throughs to really be disturbed by the ending, and as such I put it down with no real intention to pick it up again.

But then I started a blog, and one of my blog projects is to read and review all of Stephen King's works.

I thought to myself, Alright, how bad can it be? It's just a book. You've read plenty of other horrifying, disturbing things before. What makes this different? And the thing is, I'm not sure exactly what does make it different; I just know that it is, and it is for that reason that I have been procrastinating finishing Pet Sematary for about a week and a half now, despite being a mere 30 pages, or maybe even less, from the ending.

Another book I'm not sure I'll be able to read again is another Stephen King novel, this one much more recent: 11/22/63. That book is more than 800 pages long but I powered through it in one weekend, desperate to know what happened, and what was my reward? COMPLETE AND TOTAL DEVASTATION. If you haven't read it but plan to, be prepared to sit and stare at the wall for a bit after finishing while your brain tries mightily to process ALL THE FEELINGS. As much as I loved the book, I don't know if I could have the same experience reading it again knowing what's going to happen at the end. (Not that I hate the ending, but man, did it wrench my heart.)

But on the other hand, there are some other books that I think I'll like and understand better now that I know the ending. Take The Casual Vacancy, for instance. It's one of the few books I've ever read that really made me think about it, despite my initial apathetic dislike towards it. I forced myself to finish and was glad that I did, because the more I thought about it, the more I got it. I think reading it through a second time, really understanding who's who and what's what, will give me a greater appreciation for it.

Now I want to hear from you. What books do you like to reread, despite knowing the ending, and what books have been ruined for you (rereading-wise) because you know the ending? That doesn't mean you had to dislike the book, just that knowing the ending makes you want to take a step back and say, "I've gotten everything I could from this book and don't need to read it again," OR, "That ending made me too sad/angry/upset/disturbed to read it again." For example, I love rereading Harry Potter and most Stephen King books, but a few books I won't reread (probably) are The Running Man, 11/22/63, and Pet Sematary (if I ever even finish it this time). How about you?

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Daisy's Top Ten Favourite Books of 2012

I can't believe 2012 is almost over and next week we'll be celebrating Christmas! And with the end of the year comes this Top Ten Tuesday topic: Favourite Reads of 2012. I've read 157 books so far this year so choosing only 10 to spotlight here is kinda hard...

The Debuts

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas: it is no secret that I've been pining for this one for YEARS. I was one of those people who read the first version on FictionPress and fell in love with the world and Celaena and all the other characters. And Throne of Glass completely lived up to my expectations, it was AMAZING. My review

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo: I just have so much love for this book, it's not even funny. I'm such a fan of epic fantasy and this is the start of what I believe will be a series that will live in my heart forever. My review

Gilt by Katherine Longshore: I am slightly obsessed with Tudor England. I can't help myself. And I was blown away by how much I loved this one, centered around Katherine Howard's best friend. It's such a tragic tale and I can't wait to read Katherine Longshore's next book! My review

Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi: Saying I loved this book doesn't even describe it. I was blown away, completely sucked in and snarled at anyone trying to distract me while I was reading it! The writing is beautiful, the stakes are high and the worldbuilding was SO GOOD! And the characters! I cannot wait to dive back into Arya and Perry's lives and just spend time with them! Seriously, you should all read this book! My review

The I've Been PINING For These Forever

The Crimson Crown by Cinda Williams Chima: I've raved about this series before and I cannot say it enough: EVERYONE who even remotely enjoys fantasy should read these books. They are amazing and The Crimson Crown was everything I could have wanted from it. I'm just sad it was the last book in the series... My review

The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson: I LOVED The Girl of Fire and Thorns and I think I loved The Crown of Embers even more. It was amazing and heartbreaking (seriously, Rae Carson broke my heart and then stomped on it. Hard.) and I seriously cannot wait till The Bitter Kingdom releases even though it'll be the last book in the series... I suffered from serious book hangover after reading this one. My review

Touch Of Power by Maria V. Snyder: I'm a major Maria V. Snyder fan and I will pick up anything she writes. And Touch of Power was everything I expected from it and more and I just loved it. My review

The Unexpected Loves

A Night Like This by Julia Quinn: I know I probably shouldn't have been surprised by how much I loved this book, but I was! Our very own Broke and Bookish Julia has been recommending her books to me and I just failed to pick them up until A Night Like This crossed my path. But am I ever glad I read it!! Julia Quinn brings the romance and the sexy and the funny and I just LOVED it! My review

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein: I think this book will be on a lot of lists. It's just one of those books that'll break your heart and I just loved the unreliable narrator! It's a book about friendship and strong women against the backdrop of World War II and I just loved it. I hesitated about picking this up because books about World War II aren't really my thing, but I'm so glad I picked it up in the end! My review

Geek Girl by Cindy C. Bennett: I was kinda expecting something light and fluffly in the line of She's All That when I picked this up, but boy WAS I WRONG! It deals with a heavy subject and it was amazing! The lovestory is beautiful and felt REAL and gah, I just can't stop fangirling over Trevor... My review

The 'Well DUH!'

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi: OF COURSE I was going to love it! I can't believe I waited this long to pick it up, it's such a me book! I was blown away by the writing which is gorgeous and made me BE in the story. I couldn't put this book down even if I wanted to. My review

A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin: I LOVE this series! I take forever between reading the books because their HUGE and it intimidates me, but while I'm reading them I'm just in love with the worldbuilding and the characters even though George R.R. Martin keeps killing them off. And I love that I can geek out with Broke and Bookish's own Kelly over them :)

So, that's my list. Share some of my favourites? Have ones to recommend to me? Let me know in the comments!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Julia's Romance Roundup - Summer/Fall 2012

As you all are probably aware, I am an avid reader of romance. I usually get into a nice groove and read a ton in a row. Sometimes I feel like I inundate you guys with romance reviews, so occasionally I try to review a ton of them at a time in mini-paragraph format. This is one of those times.

What I Did For a Duke by Julie Anne Long
Published: February 2011 by Avon
Series: Pennyroyal Green #5
Rating: 5 stars

I have to say, this series has been rather hit, miss, blah for me. Luckily this one was a hit. I highly enjoyed the main characters, and the secondary characters too actually. The plot was one that I have yet to have read in the 168 historical romance novels I have read since I started keeping track of such numbers. Alex, the hero, catches Ian, the heroine's brother, in bed with his fiance. He forces him to leave through the window, naked as a jay bird, and all of this happens in the prologue! Alex decides the best revenge would be to seduce his sister, Genevieve our heroine.

The book went nowhere I expected. It was an awesome surprise at every turn. I love the chemistry between the couple too. So steamy!

Do you need to read the other books in the series to enjoy this one? No, not really, though they do make a lot of references to the other happy couples.

Moonglow by Kristen Callihan
Published: July 2012 by Forever
Series: Darkest London #2
Rating: 5 stars

The second book in her series, Moonglow definitely met any criticisms I had had with Firelight (review) and did one better. I loved the romance between our leads! It felt very believable. The plot was alright, but really the strong improvement was in the more developed secondary characters and more interesting world building, since this book is a paranormal historical romance.

Here we have the story of the sister of the heroine from Firelight, Daisy. Newly widowed from a horrible man, she is ready to "live it up." You may sat that she is even living it up too much when she is making out with a dude in an alley and a werewolf attacks. This unwittingly throws her under the protection of Ian. Both Ian and Daisy have secrets of their own but I love how they came together to not only overcome past pain, but to solve the mystery of the rogue werewolf.

This is in a series, and I would probably recommend for full understanding amazingness to start with the first book before this.

The Ugly Duchess by Eloisa James
Published: August 2012 by Avon
Series: Fairy Tales #4
Rating: 4 stars

Oh, The Ugly Duchess. Why did you cause me so much angst? This book had a completely new plot for me that was executed well, but I couldn't help myself from wanting to die for the first third of the book. It just made my tummy hurt. I guess I should back up.

Theodora and James grew up together, so much so that they never saw each other as romantic interests. Until James has to marry her to save his father, and thus convince her that he actually loves her. And then while convincing her finds out he actually does. It sounds so convoluted when I tell it, but suffice it to say I was sick.

My biggest problem, despite needing stock in Tums, was for a romance novel it seemed like they spent so much time apart! I did like the pirates though. And it was well executed technically.

Eloisa James's Fairy Tale retellings are only connected by the fact that they are fairy tales, so you can read this stand alone of the moment moves you.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Abandonment Issues

Anybody else do this?  I ask, knowing full well that other people do.  

You'll be going along, reading a book you're really enjoying, when suddenly--you're completely derailed.  The actual cause of derailment varies.  It could be you watch a movie that makes you think about a different book.  It could be that you buy a bunch of new books and one grabs your attention.  It could be that sickness or other life events keeps you from reading for a lengthy period of time and your interest in your current read peters out.  It could be that a new season dawns and you always always always want to read Faulkner when spring starts (amongst other points during the year).

So what do you do?  Do you set aside your current read until a later date so you can indulge in the new object of your interest?  Do you try to read both simultaneously?  Even knowing that you stand a better chance of success if you just read one book at a time?  Or are you one of those magical people who is able to power through their current read without distractions?  (I really kind of hope not because then this post is totally irrelevant to you, but maybe you can offer advice [although can anyone really give advice on reading matters?  Aren't they such a personal preference?])

On my personal blog, I recently created a new reading list for myself based on a list I found on a favorite emagazine.  It's a fantastic list.  So many really good (or so I've heard) books that I've owned and wanted to read for ages.  Some of them I've even started.  I just haven't finished.  In an effort to make some progress on this list, I picked up Jane Eyre on Wednesday when I took my boyfriend to the doctor.  He had the flu.  I made quite a lot of progress on the book.  Then by Wednesday night, I got it (so if this post doesn't make a lick of sense, I blame it on the lingering effects of the flu).  Maybe it's just me being inexperienced with being sick, but I really thought I'd get a lot more reading done.  Alas no.  Most of my days and nights were spent watching NCIS marathons and movies on one of the HBOs.  Very little reading.  I'm a little bit let down.

Today, I woke up actually feeling mostly on the mend.  Mostly.  I thought I'd pick up Jane Eyre and continue progress.  But then I turned on Forrest Gump.  Oh, what a sweet movie.  This morning, that movie made me think about the New South.  And, of course, that made me think about Faulkner.  So I had to get on my boyfriend's Facebook page and find that Faulkner quote to find out what book it was from so I could read that book.  Even though I'm not quite feeling up to reading right now and there's an NCIS marathon on again today.  

It's a vicious, vicious cycle.

All of this chasing down one book after another, naturally, means that I finish far fewer books than I should.  I've really read a bunch of books this year.  I just haven't finished many of them.  So, I subscribe to you readers, how do you combat that?  How do you get yourself to focus on one book until you finish it?

Think about it while I go collapse on the couch, watch NCIS, and try to avoid thinking about another book to start.  I want to read some Faulkner!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Jana recommends: Quick and Cute Christmas Reads

Hi all! I think you'll probably agree that this time of year is amazingly insane and busy. Of course, it's in a good way... but I have found myself struggling with getting any reading done! I have been reading the same book since Thanksgiving night. How do you guys do it?!

For my post today, I thought it would be fun to highlight a few of the quickies I've read recently that were adorable, and will also help with getting you in the Christmas spirit. Definitely try to squish in a little "me time" for these ones! Several of them have been, or will be featured in my 25-day event: A Bookish Little Christmas with That Artsy Reader Girl. Feel free to jump over there and see all the Christmas-ness that's going on! 

Snowed over by Angie Stanton

This novella is amazing, and I stumbled upon it by pure coincidence. It's all about a girl and a guy who need to get home for Christmas. They get put together by mutual friends from college, because they are both headed to the same place. During the drive, a blizzard forces their car off the road and they end up spending the holiday in an abandoned cabin. It's so romantic, and so sweet. PLUS it's new adult! I'm over the moon with this book, and for only $2.99, why would you even think about passing it up? :)

Check out my full review.
buy it, or add it to goodreads.

Let it Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle

I know that pretty much anyone in the entire world knows about this one, but I just barely read it last year... so maybe I'm not the only one behind the times. This book has three short stories in it, and all of them are pretty darn amazing. Plus, they all end up tying in to one another. John's and Maureen's were my favorites. 

Check out my full review.
buy it, or add it to goodreads.

The Unlikely Romance of Kate Bjorkman by Louise Plummer

This book had been out of print for a while, and I am SO glad it is back! More people need to read this! Kate is bookish and hilarious, and I really ate this book up. She describes this book better than I can, so here you go! 
"I’m Kate Bjorkman. I don’t like romance novels. They’re full of three-paragraph kisses describing people’s tongues and spittle. But what do you do if you’ve lived a real romance with a great-looking guy (Richard) and he loves you as much as you love him? I know what I did. I wrote this romance novel about myself, using the Romance Writer’s Phrase Book. I also used stuff my English teacher taught me about writing. He said a story must have conflict. No problem there. My life was one big conflict last Christmas. I didn’t make anything up. This is the honest truth and I want truth even in romance. I’m betting you’ll want the same."
I really, really loved this one. Check out my full review, and either buy it, or add it to goodreads

So, there you have it: three of my very favorite Christmas stories! If you're looking for many more, and you're on a budget I've got an awesome list of free and cheap Christmas reads that I'm sure will brighten your holiday season. Merry Christmas!

Oh, P.S. While you're here... how on earth do you juggle the holidays with reading? It's my favorite time of year to read, and I have no time at all! 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Julia's Top Ten New to Me Authors of 2012

For future Top Ten Tuesday topics & info on how to participate, click here!

Julia's Top Ten New To Me Authors I Read in 2012

  1. Kristen Callihan
  2. I was in need of a good romance, especially a good paranormal romance. Then Ms. Callihan came and made it all better with her Firelight and Moonglow books. (review of Firelight) Original and well written, she is right at the top of my list!
  3. George R.R. Martin
  4. Seriously, how could I have a list without Mr. Martin? A Song of Ice and Fire has been a real joy to read (though where I am right now seems to be dragging cough), and my favorite part about it is that it gives me great things to talk about with people. Most people I know either watched the show or read the books or both. It's a great fantasy series without a main character (I will fight you if you try to tell me X is the main character, because you are wrong :) ).
  5. Courtney Milan
  6. You know, I had to go back through my Goodreads shelf to make sure that I started reading Ms. Milan this year. It's true. It was a while back, but I discovered her this year. She is a very talented author, and though her characters have been hit or miss for me, I still regard her as one of the best in the genre. In fact I am ecstatic to hear that her next book came out two days ago starting her new series! If I hadn't spent a ton of money on books already thus far, I would so be all over her book... I still may.
  7. Julie Anne Long
  8. Oh Ms. Long. The Pennyroyal Green series about two families has also been hit and miss. But the last one I read was so enchanting, it almost makes me forgive I Kissed An Earl (review). Regardless, her Regency historicals I have been steadily reading throughout the year. If they were truly bad I would have stopped a while ago. Oh, who am I kidding! I need to find out what will happen between Olivia and Lyon!
  9. Emma Lang
  10. This is the guilty one on this list. I fully admit that Ms. Lang is not the best author. In fact, I find myself skimming sometimes, but something about the way she has told the story of this family (and that there are cowboys) makes me want to keep reading. (review of Matthew)
  11. Marissa Meyer
  12. Now we move on to the people who I have only read book of but really have high hopes for book two. Like Ms. Meyer. Cinder (review) was probably my favorite YA novel that I read last year. It was so darn creative! I await anxiously book two in this fantastic series! Which hopefully is coming soon next year?
  13. Brodi Asthon
  14. Oh Ms. Ashton. Author of a pretty unique take on Greek mythos, Everneath (review). I am extremely curious to see where she takes this story. I am pretty sure I gave this one four stars, but part of me is giving it the side eye depending on how book two goes. I have high hopes!
  15. Meljean Brook
  16. It's a crime that I have only read one of the books in Ms. Brook's series, The Iron Duke (review). The third one came out this year, but alas I am behind in this series because I was so busy stumbling into other series!
  17. Jillian Stone
  18. The same "Woe! Why isn't there enough time?!" goes for Ms. Stone. I read the first book in her dreadfully unique Victorian romance series and was skeptical of all the historical details so much that I stopped reading to look them up and find out that she was indeed correct. I have been wanting to read book two ever since I saw Hysteria and have yet to get to it.
  19. Jessica Spotswood
  20. The last coveted spot on my list I am going to give to Ms. Spotswood. I read Born Wicked (review) back in the beginning of the year and liked it well enough. It was another unique premise for me to read and another one that hinges on what happens next. Only 2013 will tell!

Link up your lists people, so we all can get new authors to try in 2013!

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